Corporate Workspace

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Corporate Workspace is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Highlighting best practice
Simon Thrussell, founder and
managing director
Make meeting spaces a
One should never underestimate the potential of a well-
designed workplace. When an organisation considers
moving or refurbishing their workspace, it creates a
great opportunity. The attitude towards how actively this is
embraced typically governs the success of the project. Viewing
a project as an “opportunity” rather than an unwelcome
upheaval serves as a positive starting point, and helping
clients to unlock the potential in any of these given projects is
Corporate Workspace’s primary aim. Their specialist team, with
founder and managing director Simon Thrussell at the helm,
have over 200 combined years of proven industry experience,
and can help with every stage of the process.
Working with a vast community of letting agents allows us to help an organisation
find the right building and then support them at each stage of the move, meeting
both time frames and budgets in tandem.
Thoughtful interior design is vital for any of these projects. It is much more than
fitting people to a place and process; planning a space with correct departmental
positioning ensures that communication flows efficiently. Next comes a careful
selection of interior elements: the colour scheme and overall impact of the design
reflect a visual interpretation of any organisation. This says everything about a
company, about their DNA, their confidence, their attitude and the care they take
of their employees. Mostly, it speaks about who they are and where they are going.
Of most importance, though, is how an effective design can provide future
flexibility to enable an interior to adapt. This is best achieved by far more than
»Founder and managing
director: Simon Thrussell
»Established in 2001
»Based in Leeds, with
operations across the UK
»Services: Interior design,
commercial fit-out and supply
of interior elements
»No. of employees: 12
»No. of significant projects
undertaken in a year: 40
»Creates great workspaces
to increase productivity and
staff retention and maximise
»Consistently work to ISO 9001
Corporate Workspace
simply having “spare space” to grow
into, however; key factors include
maximising the potential of mobile
technologies and the agile working
that this can allow. You only need to
look around you at any high street
coffee shop to see people working
alone over a laptop, or others huddled
around a tablet. Mobile technologies
have revolutionised the way we
work. If we can work remotely, from
home or a café, why even have large,
expensive city offices? Well, we believe
it promotes a sense of belonging, a
sense of community, that helps to
create and support an active and fluid
exchange of knowledge between
employees. We describe this as the
office “campus”.
The modern office campus
This campus needs to support a range
of processes and requirements. Though
any given work day and the tasks
completed throughout it are highly
diverse, traditional office design still
favours rank after rank of traditional
desks. Recent industry surveys and
our own case studies show that only
about 20 per cent of an organisation’s
workforce require or would choose to
use traditional desks. A forward-thinking
office needs to put the people at the
centre of its design. It should indeed
provide flexible desking where required,
but also utilise the café culture dynamic
which has proven to be so effective.
This translates best into a division
of distinct zones with furniture of
varying styles. This would usually
include comfortable seating for breaks
and spontaneous meetings, with
adjacent good-quality beverage areas
and space for sit-stand desks. Sit-
stand working, where a desk uses an
adjustable height mechanism to alter
the working plane, has been a given
for many years in much of continental
Europe; in large parts of Scandinavia,
it is mandatory. This is because the
human body is not designed to be sat
down for prolonged periods of time.
We are designed to move and there is
raft of research supporting the health
benefits of this way of working.
Other important
developmental aspects
Another factor which can have a
massive impact is the acoustics of any
given office. Open-plan offices can
be noisy, and managing these noise
levels is a key part of any successful
working environment. There are, of
course, areas where a background
“buzz” is desirable to help build
teams and atmosphere, but within
Selective use of colour
can bind the scheme
A forward-
thinking office
needs to put
the people at
the centre of
its design
Highlighting best practice
our campus we must allow for quiet
areas, too.
Often offices will have suites of large
meeting rooms while also providing
many smaller rooms for between one
and four persons, to allow small team
meetings. We also provide acoustically
private open meeting areas, which are
screened from the main work areas to
allow an accessible but nonetheless
separate place for discussion. There
have been a plethora of sofas and
seats developed with high sides that
make them perfect for this scenario.
Probably the most important factor in
ensuring that a scheme is a successful
vehicle for change is including the
most senior of management in all
significant decisions. Cultural change
must be led by example; if a scheme
includes agile areas for staff, but
maintains suites and suites of status-
oriented and disproportionately sized
offices for managerial figures, it
perpetuates a divided atmosphere.
Integrating senior management
with their team, however, will
ensure that all staff feel valued
and included. This also sees that
employees are consulted throughout
the process too, to show that ideas
are taken on board and appropriate
Our clients and the “redesign
We work with a diverse range of
clients from both the public and private
sectors. All organisations are unique,
as is each project. There are, however,
some common themes which can
underpin any successful undertaking.
These include:
»workforces valuing their
surroundings, consulting and listen
each other’s ideas;
»communicating clearly the
evolution of a project. People can
be very fearful of change without.
Showcasing the scheme, letting
people see mock-ups of desks and
work chairs, for example, is a help;
»involving senior management
without creating ivory towers or too
much of a hierarchy;
»maximising the potential of new
technologies including, for instance,
numerous charging points in
meeting and breakout areas. Laptops
and tablets are amazing platforms,
but do require power;
»spending time evolving the scheme,
so that often valuable budgets are
eroded through last changes;
»viewing your space as an investment,
not an overhead – considering the
project as an opportunity helps to
drive productive change.
Research shows that on average major
refurbishments and relocations are
only undertaken every ten years; we
believe that if they are this infrequent,
it should not be treated as an arduous
undertaking, but instead a journey,
and one that should be enjoyed.
surveys and
our own case
studies show
that only 20
per cent of an
require or
would choose
to use
Mobile technologies
have revolutionised the
way we work

This article was sponsored by Corporate Workspace. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.